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ASBESTOS SURVEYING FIRM DIRECTOR PROSECUTED

Director failed to manage the spread of asbestos on homes development project

Amencon Ltd director, Shay James, has been fined £5,000 after failing to identify asbestos containing materials (ACMs) during an asbestos survey of a factory unit in Redditch. The site was earmarked to become a new housing development.

Mr James carried out the survey with an employee in July and August 2008 but failed to identify 1,252 sq m of asbestos insulation board (AIB) and asbestos lagging.

The building containing AIB and lagging was subsequently demolished without proper asbestos management processes in place. The demolition contractor noticed ‘suspicious material’ during demolition and work was stopped immediately.

Defendant was a trained surveyor

Shay James of Albert Street, Redditch pleaded guilty to breaching Secton 36 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Leicester Magistrates’ Court. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,348.

Section 36 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:

“Where the commission by any person of an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions is due to the act or default of some other person, that other person shall be guilty of the offence, and a person may be charged with and convicted of the offence by virtue of this subsection whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.”

HSE inspector Stephen Farthing said:

“Although Mr James is a trained asbestos surveyor, a very poor survey was carried out which missed large quantities of AIB and lagging.

This resulted from his failure to ensure they had adequate lighting or access equipment to conduct the survey. As a consequence, a building was demolished that contained asbestos and contractors were put at risk from exposure which is completely unacceptable.

“The dangers of asbestos are well known and contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any firm that ignores the law in this way.”

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